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Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory

4.7 out of 5 stars 39 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Product Description

PARADISE LOST 3: PURGATORY, the conclusion of Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky s award-winning trilogy that spawned a worldwide movement to free three convicted men, tells the complete story of one of the most notorious child murder cases in U.S. history. Beginning with the 1993 murders, the film chronicles the 18-year fight to prove the innocence of the West Memphis Three; Damien Echols, Jason Baldwin and Jessie Misskelley, incarcerated for an alleged Satanic ritual killing the convicted men, and their supporters worldwide, maintain they did not commit. With Echols on death row and Baldwin and Misskelley serving life sentences, PARADISE LOST 3 examines a horrifying crime with fresh insights that only the passage of time can provide. Facts are reexamined, new evidence is revealed, and new suspects are scrutinized. With an extraordinary perspective of three films spanning nearly two decades, PARADISE LOST 3 is a provocative examination of American justice and a celebration of the power of cinema to effect social change.


  • Nominee, Best Documentary Feature Academy Award®
  • Best Documentary, National Board of Review
  • Nominee Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Documentary, Director s Guild of America
  • Official Selection, Toronto International Film Festival
  • Most Valuable Documentary of the Year, Berlin s Cinema for Peace Awards


Destined to rank as one of the major achievements in American documentary. --Variety

We tend to think of movies as fun diversions. But every once in a while they have the power to change lives. --Entertainment Weekly

A testament to the power of documentary. --The Hollywood Reporter

Product Details

  • Actors: Damien Wayne Echols, Jason Baldwin, Jessie Misskelley Jr.
  • Directors: Joe Berlinger, Bruce Sinofsky
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Docurama
  • DVD Release Date: August 14, 2012
  • Run Time: 121 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (39 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #57,190 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
The plight of the infamous West Memphis Three has been the center of controversy for almost two decades now. Upon discovering three eight year old boys murdered and discarded in the Robin Hood Hills area of West Memphis, Arkansas in 1993, a subsequent investigation caused local police to target three teen outsiders for the crime. Based on the most specious of evidence and a rampant desire to see justice done for such a heinous act, Damien Echols, Jason Baldwin and Jessie Misskelley were convicted and sentenced in 1994 despite a clear lack of physical evidence or motive. Due to Echols appearance, interest in metal music, and fascination with disturbing imagery, the deaths were chalked up to being a part of a dark occult ritual. And a frightened and justifiable mob mentality ruled the day (especially as word of Misskelley's questionable confession circulated).

But the facts never really added up and filmmakers Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky were on hand to document the proceedings in the disturbing feature (which won them an Emmy among other accolades) "Paradise Lost: The Child Murders of Robin Hood Hills" in 1996. As that film highlighted an apparent miscarriage of justice, it caused the West Memphis Three to become a national cause celebre. Graphic and unpleasant, it was a riveting film that brought an unrelenting awareness to the case and the legal system in general. In 2000, the pair released "Paradise Lost 2: Revelations" which was largely in response to the first film's reaction. It caught up with the boys in jail, and the focus seems to have been to dig further into the evidence and other possible suspects.
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Format: DVD
PARADISE LOST 3: PURGATORY (2012, 120 minutes, HBO Films) - Here is the anxiously awaited 3rd installment of the continuing sagas of Damien Wayne Echols, James Baldwin and Jesse Misskelley, Jr., all convicted of murdering three 8-year-old boys in 1993. It wasn't aired on HBO and I just saw it On Demand - the only place it is available right now. It had originally been scheduled to air in January.

This compelling albeit slightly muddled documentary sequel begins by retelling the story of "The West Memphis Three" - Echols, Baldwin and Misskelley - and the horrible crime of three young boys' murders. At first I thought this was retread, but I quickly realized this was a vital documentary tool to catch up a viewer who might be new to the story.

The documentary does an excellent job of stunning the viewer by explaining how the case exploded in everyone's faces in the mid-2000s. New evidence was discovered and all of it re-examined; among the evidence was DNA and a new look at the victims' bodies. 46 minutes in, the infamous John Mark Byers, stepfather of one of the victims and one-time suspect, is interviewed yet again - this time on the side of three convicted men. Having gone through a similar witch hunt as the Three, Byers now rallied for their release. (After seeing the second documentary, the wife and I strongly suspected Buyers.)

What happened? The very first documentary, Paradise Lost - The Child Murders at Robin Hood Hills (see my review), drew public attention like nothing else since the O. J. Simpson or Michael Jackson trials. In 2007, four great forensic scientists were brought forward in a press conference to speak of the new evidence they'd reviewed.
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This "Paradise Lost" trilogy is beyond documentary film making. A better description of the films would be that they are legendary journalistic heroism that are philanthropic education for the American public, in regards to the horrors that CAN arise from the U.S. justice system when it fails.

This film was never meant to be the "final chapter" of the Berlinger and Sinofsky series on the West Memphis 3 case. When the film was practically 100% finished, a surprise hearing was called regarding the case. The hearing was prompted by the fact that the original trial judge David Burnett (who was also the judge for EVERY SINGLE APPEAL HEARING regarding this case) denied the WM3 an evidentiary hearing, despite allegations of juror misconduct in the original trial, recantations of testimony used in court, and DNA evidence that excluded the three defendants from the crime scene or the bodies AND pointed in a different direction that the police never investigated. Burnett's decision caused the defense to go to the Arkansas supreme court to show that Burnett was in error. The defense team succeeded and received an evidentiary hearing for the 3 men in prison, a hearing in which David Burnett was finally NOT going to be the judge that the West Memphis 3 would have to appeal to. The cops and District Attorney's office knew there would be a retrial, and that the defense would likely win. The unexpected hearing was called four months before the new evidentiary hearing. If you don't know how it turned out, I won't spoil that part here. Just know that because of that hearing, "Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory" became the final installment that the film making team would ever make.
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Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory
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